The World of Law: A Treasury of Great Writing about and in the Law, Short Stories, Plays, Essays, Accounts, Letters, Opinions, Pleas, Transcripts of Testimony; from Biblical Times to the Present - Vol. 2

By Ephraim London | Go to book overview

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


LETTER TO HAROLD LASKI

Washington, D. C., May 27,1921 Dear Laski: Your letter of 12 V. 21 (1 can copy if I cannot emulate) came this P.M. too late for me to catch the boat that I still imagine to sail every Saturday. Your tale of negotiations was most interesting but I fear from what little I have heard or seen later that it did not succeed. With us the main event has been the death of the Chief Justice.* Poor man, he suffered long and bore up against it heroically--but life could not have been satisfactory longer, even if his pain had ceased. He had, beside the trouble of which he died, cataracts on both eyes and had grown very deaf. I cannot judge whether his delaying any operation was due to determination not to give the appointment to Wilson or to love of the office or to mistaken sense of duty--possibly all combined. For I think he loved the office as an end in itself. There is a queer difference in people about that. The only thing that gives me appreciable pleasure is when people--the rare ones that I care about and whose judgment I respect--tell me that I have hit the ut de poitrine in my work. Then for half an hour I feel that the long struggle has been rewarded--and then comes again the doubt--will the next one do the trick. As I may have written, the last year or two has brought more of the feeling of reward than ever before--and I fully appreciate the part that you have played in bringing that about. Now people speculate as to who will take White's

____________________
*
Mr. Chief Justice White had died on May 19. The vacancy was filled at the end of June by the appointment of William Howard Taft.

-726-

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The World of Law: A Treasury of Great Writing about and in the Law, Short Stories, Plays, Essays, Accounts, Letters, Opinions, Pleas, Transcripts of Testimony; from Biblical Times to the Present - Vol. 2
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